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porary events, but the contest between Elizabeth and Mary takes ideal form in that of Una and the false Duessa, and the clash of arms between Spain and the Huguenots comes to us faint and hushed through the serener air. The verse, like the story, rolls on as by its own natural power, without haste, or effort, or delay. The gorgeous colouring, the profuse and often complex imagery which Spenser's imagination lavishes, leave no sense of confusion in the reader's mind. Every figure, strange as it may be, is seen clearly and distinctly as it passes by. It is in this calmness, this serenity, this spiritual elevation of the “Faerie Queene," that we feel the new life of the coming age moulding into ordered and harmonious form the life of the Renascence. Both in its conception, and in the way in which this conception is realised in the portion of his work which Spenser completed, his poem strikes the note of the coming Puritanism. In his earlier pastoral, the “Shepherd's Calendar," the poet had boldly taken his part with the more advanced reformers against the Church policy of the Court. He had chosen Archbishop Grindal, who was then in disgrace for his Puritan sympathies, as his model of a Christian pastor; and attacked with sharp invective the pomp of the higher clergy. His “Faerie Queene" in its religious theory is Puritan to the core. The worst foe of its “Red-cross Knight" is the false and scarlet-clad Duessa of Rome, who parts him for a while from Truth and leads him to the house of Ignorance. Spenser presses strongly and pitilessly for the execution of Mary Stuart. No bitter word ever breaks the calm of his verse save when it touches on the perils with which Catholicism was environing England, perils before which his knight must fall,
“Were not that Heavenly Grace doth him uphold
And steadfast Truth acquite him out of all.” But it is yet more in the temper and aim of his work that we catch the nobler and deeper tones of English Puritanism.
In his earlier musings at Penshurst the poet had purposed to surpass Ariosto, but the gaiety of Ariosto's song is utterly absent from his own. Not a ripple of laughter breaks the calm surface of Spenser's verse. He is habitually serious, and the seriousness of his poetic tone reflects the seriousness of his poetic purpose. His aim, he tells us, was to represent the moral virtues, to assign to each its knightly patron, so that its excellence might be expressed and its contrary vice trodden under foot by deeds of arms and chivalry. In knight after knight of the twelve he purposed to paint, he wished to embody some single virtue of the virtuous man in its struggle with the faults and errors which specially beset it; till in Arthur, the sum of the whole company, man might have been seen perfected, in his longing and progress towards the "Faerie Queene," the Divine glory which is the true end of human effort.
The largeness of his culture indeed, his exquisite sense of beauty, and above all the very intensity of his moral enthusiasm, saved Spenser from the narrowness and exaggeration which often distorted goodness into unloveliness in the Puritan. Christian as he is to the core, his Christianity is enriched and fertilized by the larger temper of the Renascence, as well as by a poet's love of the natural world in which the older mythologies struck their roots. Diana and the gods of Heathendom take a sacred tinge from the purer sanctities of the new faith ; and in one of the greatest songs of the “Faerie Queene," the conception of love widens, as it widened in the mind of a Greek, into the mighty thought of the productive energy of Nature. Spenser borrows, in fact, the delicate and refined forms of the Platonist philosophy to express his own moral enthusiasm. Not only does he love, as others have loved, all that is noble and pure and of good report, but he is fired as none before or after him have been fired with a passionate sense of moral beauty. Justice, Temperance, Truth, are no mere names to him, but real existences to which his whole nature clings with a rapturous affection. Outer beauty he believed to spring, and loved because it sprang from the beauty of the soul within.
There was much in such a moral protest as this to rouse dislike in any age, but it is the glory of the age of Elizabeth that, "mad world," as in many ways it was, all that was noble welcomed the “Faerie Queene.” Elizabeth herself, says Spenser, "to mine oaten pipe inclined her ear,” and bestowed a pension on the poet.
In 1595 he brought three more books of his poem to England. - He returned to Ireland to commemorate his marriage in Sonnets, and the most beautiful of bridal songs; and to complete the “Faerie Queene,” amongst love and poverty and troubles from his Irish neighbours. But these troubles soon took a graver form. In 1599 Ireland broke into revolt, and the poet escaped from his burning house to fly to England, and to die brokenhearted in an inn at Westminster.
7. R. Green. eoer
THE HOUSE OF PRIDE.*
And through long labours huntest after fame,
Then lightnesse and inconstancie in love :
Through light misdeeming of her loialtie;
And towards it a broad high way that led,
* From the Fairie Queene, I. iv.
Great troupes of people traveild thetherward
Both day and night, of each degree and place;
For she is wearie of the toilsom way,
A stately Pallace built of squared bricke,
Which cunningly was without morter laid,
Full of faire windowes and delightful bowres;
It was a goodly heape for to behould,
And spake the praises of the workmans witt;
And all the hinder partes, that few could spie,
Arrived there, they passed in forth right;
For still to all the gates stood open